Summer seems an odd time to talk about the flu, but there have been several really great years with low incidence of the flu. I like to watch the CDC’s outpatient illness surveillance. Here they record the percentage of patients that have influenza like illness (ILI is defined as fever (temperature of 100°F [37.8°C] or greater) and cough and/or sore throat.) as a percentage of visits. This is great information as they look at around thirty million patient visits per year.
This past year was of real significance as this is the first year in fourteen years that the percentage of hospital visits did not exceed the CDC’s baseline. The baseline is a number set by taking the average of the percentages of non-flu season visits and going two standard deviations above that. What this means in laymen’s terms is the 2011- 2012 season was like summer all year round. Because vitamin D is a very potent disease fighter and seems to be the most effective against viral infections, I have theorized that the increase in the amount of supplementation of vitamin D has already had an impact on the rate of flu incidence. Flu Hits Fourteen Year Record Low also Flu Vaccine Versus Innate Immunity, and All post on the flu that includes my prediction from last January.
So what does the future hold for the flu? There are no real crystal balls but we can certainly speculate based on existing trends. Based on the downward trend of the flu, we are going to have another great year. That is if the effect is indeed based on the increased supplementation of vitamin D. The way vitamin D works by building up your innate immunity, its actions are much better than a flu vaccine which is only targeted to existing strains of the flu. Vitamin D will work against all mutations of the virus. Here are my predictions for the coming year shown on a graph from CDC. I suspect again that we will have another year where it appears that it is summer all winter.
Your part in this test of flu vaccine versus innate immunity is to assure that you maintain a serum level above 40 ng/ml or the level of 25(OH)D3 where innate immunity starts to perform at its best. Of course higher levels will even give you better protection. Everyone seems to reach different levels of the 25(OH)D3 versus how much vitamin D they are taking and their sun exposure. As a rule of thumb, to maintain a healthy level of vitamin D, you should supplement every day that you are not in the sun with 40 IU per pound of body weight, i.e. if you weigh 100 lbs then supplement with 4,000 IU of D3.
What do you get in return for your efforts of taking vitamin D3 regularly? No colds or the flu during the winter. Of course the cold remedy manufacturers and flu vaccine manufacturers will not be happy. – Pandemic Survivor